Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

Many people know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who took Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. You can also tell by seeing him on television as a broadcaster and just by seeing his mannerisms that he is a decent guy. But many of us have no idea about his upbringing and the people and experiences that made him who he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir that was written after Dungy’s Super Bowl victory and one of the most impactful years of his life.

The book takes us through Tony’s life in chronological order, beginning with his childhood and home life. Dungy had two honest and moral parents. He mentions in his book how they instilled in him a sense of calm and the difference between right and wrong. Dungy always says that when he gets frustrated or wants to confront someone, he should remember what his father used to say to him and figure out if yelling will do anything and actually make things better for him. From the beginning of the book, it can be said that Dungy is and has always been a family man.

As a teenager, Tony was an excellent athlete. He played basketball and football in high school. As a tall, lean and muscular young man, he excelled at basketball and was actually a quarterback on the football team. In fact, he was so good that he went on to play football at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played four solid years for the Golden Gophers and thought he had a great chance to play in the NFL. One thing, though, is that he didn’t have the typical college build or stats of an NFL quarterback and he would have to work his way up on a pro team the hard way. He was skeptical about being recruited, and his suspicions turned out to be true, as he never received a call from a professional team. However, the Steelers eventually gave him a chance and signed him as a free agent to play in their defensive backfield.

Dungy made the most of his time in the Steelers organization. He felt comfortable in Pittsburgh because the estate was more like family to him than just a boss. He made the team at defensive back due to his smaller size and won a Super Bowl during the short time he was there. Dungy was playing for the best team at the time and ended up with a ring during one of his three years as a player. Although he played professional football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and he needed to think of another job he could do once he finished his playing days. As a smart young man who had experience as a quarterback and defenseman, he was in a unique position to become an excellent coach.

Tony has held various coaching positions for teams such as the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. Dungy knew all the right people on the teams he used to play on and they sped him up in his coaching career because of his diligence and character. His first head coaching job came after several years as coordinator and assistant coach. The Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired him as their head coach. The Glazers and Dungy had a great relationship throughout his career in Tampa Bay. They fully supported him and his direct ideas on how to run an entire football team. Dungy ended up leading his team to the NFC championships several years in a row, but never got to the biggest game. Therefore, the Glazers decided to release Coach Dungy. Not only was he fired from him, but also his coaching staff. This was what bothered Tony the most; he had a feeling he might find another job in the NFL, but he had a hard time knowing his assistant coaches, handpicked by Coach Dungy himself, might not have that future.

Not long after being fired from the Buccaneers organization and not knowing what God had planned for him, Coach Dungy returned home one day to find a message from the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts owner told him that he recently fired his coach and knew that Tony would be a perfect fit for the head coaching job in Indianapolis. Tony and his new boss would develop a soccer team as part of the community, not just to win games. Tony’s ideas about morality, self-responsibility, and family first for his football players would work well in Indianapolis.

Coach Dungy inherited an exceptional offense in Indianapolis, led by Peyton Manning. The defense needed work and confidence, but with Dungy’s help, they were quickly playing on a whole different level. The team began making the playoffs every year where they usually met their rivals, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually got the better of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won nearly all of their regular-season games, beat them all in the playoffs, and then destroyed the Chicago Bears in the NFL Super Bowl. Coach Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl and instantly knew he had to apply his knowledge and fame to make the world a better place. Dungy knew that as a successful black man with such a major title and a world championship to his name, he could make an impact.

Tony Dungy has always been an extremely busy man, working seven days a week, usually with only a few hours of sleep. However, he has always found the time to do charity work. This includes church work, starting charities with his wife, Lauren, and running All Pro Dad. This organization is focused on making fathers across the country better people and teaching these men to be there for their sons. The concept is simple, but profoundly important. Imagine how many boys in this world don’t know who their fathers are and how they don’t have a male presence in their life. All Pro Dad teaches fathers and even male figures to be role models for the youth of the world.

While Coach Dungy has proven himself to be a great man and a noble person, it’s what he does behind the scenes that really makes him great; he puts his family first and always makes them his number one priority. Tony and Laura not only have numerous children of their own, but have begun adopting. Since they are in such a fortunate position in the world and financially well off, they have improved the lives of orphaned black children. Anyone who has children knows that they can be a blessing, but sometimes difficult. Often in life, children can bring incredible happiness, but also sad moments. The first child Tony and Laura adopted is missing a critical gene that would allow him to feel pain. Since the child cannot feel pain, the child’s parents must watch the child at all times to make sure that he is not doing anything that could unknowingly harm the child.

Most of Coach Dungy’s book is uplifting and has a positive vibe, but there is one part of the book that takes the reader by surprise. During Dungy’s 2007 championship season, he received a call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that calls in the middle of the night are never good, and this call was heartbreaking; Coach Dungy’s son, Jamie, had committed suicide. Dungy repeatedly says that he will never know what caused Jamie to take his own life, but he knows that Jamie had put God first in his life and, without a doubt, he is now in heaven. It’s so sad to read about terrible things happening to such great people, but Dungy put a positive spin on the situation. He said that Jamie blessed his lives for eighteen years and that he should be remembered for all the joy he brought. Jamie never had an enemy and made friends very easily. From what Tony Dungy wrote about Jamie, it’s very clear that Jamie was as good a person as his father.

After reading Coach Dungy’s memoir, one thing is clear: Coach Dungy lives his life for God. Life will put you through the highest moments and the lowest. What makes us all different and special is how we react to these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through life’s tough times and remain modest through championship-caliber moments. Tony Dungy is a role model for all and we can all learn a positive lesson from reading his book. This book has a rating of 5 out of 5.

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